The Lakers had already announced on their injury report that Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV would miss the team’s next game against the Atlanta Hawks, but it turns out the news was even more concerning than that.
According to an update from the team on Friday morning, both Reaves (left hamstring strain) and Walker (left knee tendinitis) will both miss the next two weeks.
Medical update from the Lakers:— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 6, 2023
Austin Reaves has been diagnosed with a left hamstring strain and will be reevaluated in approximately two weeks.
Lonnie Walker IV has been diagnosed with left knee tendinitis and will be reevaluated in approximately two weeks.
Austin Reaves (left hamstring strain) and Lonnie Walker (left knee tendinitis) are both expected to miss approximately the next two weeks, at a minimum, after being evaluated by Lakers medical personnel, the team says. Both will be reevaluated after a rest and recovery period— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 6, 2023
Reaves and Walker will be evaluated in another two weeks. Added to Anthony Davis’ injury, it’s a crippling injury situation for the Lakers, who are still trying to battle their way out of the bottom 5 of the West. https://t.co/8SPcSRx2vm— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) January 6, 2023
The team later in the morning announced that Troy Brown Jr. (left quad strain) would also be out vs. Atlanta. It is unknown if he will miss more games than that.
Including Friday night’s game against the Hawks, a two-week absence would cost both Reaves and Walker a total of at least seven or eight more games, depending on if they could return on Jan. 20, when the Lakers take on the Memphis Grizzlies two weeks from today. As we’ve seen with the Lakers in recent years, however, “reevaluated on” does not mean “returning on,” and so both could miss even more time than that. Walker has already missed the last three games with this injury, and on Wednesday, head coach Darvin Ham said the team would bring him along “slowly.” Reaves had previously dealt with an ankle injury, but the hamstring strain appears to be a new issue.
Reaves (listed 6’5) and Walker (6’4) are two of the larger guards in the Lakers’ Lilliputian backcourt, and without both, the team will be even more handicapped on the “wing,” which is potentially why the team is adding a player in Sterling Brown that head coach Darvin Ham has some familiarity with and may be able to insert relatively quickly. Aside from Sterling Brown potentially playing, expect Kendrick Nunn to get back into the rotation as a result of this, and Troy Brown Jr. (when he returns from injury), Patrick Beverley, Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schröder to all get minutes bumps. Rookie guard Max Christie (6’5) seems like a shoe-in to get some more burn now.
The Lakers will begin their stint without both players when they tip off against the Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 p.m. PT on Friday.